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How To Create A Business Continuity Plan For Your Small Business
A business continuity plan is important for small businesses as well as large ones. They are designed to help your business continue to operate in the event of business disruption from things like cyber-attack, pandemics, natural disasters, fires, and loss of key personnel. If you’ve never created a business continuity plan before, you might not know where to start. Here are some of the areas you will need to include in your plan.
Core business functions
Which areas of your business need to keep functioning for your company to continue to operate? This is likely to be different for each business. For example, if you’re a managed services provider, then the ability of your teams to support clients and fix problems will be your core function. Areas such as marketing or training would likely not be needed to continue to function in the short term during a disruption.
Listing likely threats
What circumstances are most likely to cause major disruption to your business? It’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, but general ones could include;
- Fire or flood;
- Power cut;
For each of these threats, you should determine what impact this would have on your business. For example, if your business premises flooded, how would this affect your day-to-day operations? Some companies could have their employees work from home with little disruption. Whereas if you are running a store or entertainment venue, flooding the premises would have a huge impact. For each of the threats you have identified, assess their impact on loss of income, insurance costs, loss of customers, and regulatory impact.
Defining critical resources
Once you’ve listed the core business functions that need to work to keep the business running, you need to identify the resources needed to keep these running. This includes employees, equipment, and systems access. A list of key external contacts and their contact details should also be collated. These include:
- Subcontractors and managed service providers;
- Utility companies.
The business continuity plan
Now that you know the potential risks to your business and the resources you need to keep it running, you need to plan exactly what you’re going to do should any of these situations happen. Your plan should include a contingency location. This could be a secondary office, a dedicated disaster recovery site, or employees working from home.
A list of equipment that is needed that includes any vehicles, computers, and other technical equipment. When complete, your plan should be well documents and distributed to your employees with a clear statement of who is in charge should the usual managers be unavailable.
If the COVID-19 pandemic showed us anything, it was how vital a business continuity plan is to businesses of all sizes. It could be the difference between maintaining your business and going under. Many business insurers will insist on a business continuity plan being in place as a condition of their coverage.